Laguna Art Museum’s Centennial Bash
various events throughout 2018
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach
By Liz Goldner
The 100-year-old Laguna Art Museum hosted its Centennial Bash—its first of several Centennial Celebrations to be held this year—on Saturday January 27, from 8 PM to midnight.
Nearly 500 art lovers, museum supporters and party-goers, from millennials to octogenarians, residing in Laguna Beach and beyond, queued up to enter the museum’s galleries. They were greeted in the lobby by three ten-foot-tall inflatable anthropomorphic characters named: Rainbow King, Mr. TTT, and Buddy Chubb, created by FriendsWithYou, an L.A. based fine art collaborative. Affixed to the lobby ceiling was a dense installation, titled I Remember Always, made of long strips of multi-colored flagging tape that swayed to the movement of the many people attending.
Guests to the Bash feasted on taco hors d’oeuvres and finger food, imbibed fine wines and cocktails, and rocked to the music of popular L.A. DJ Nina Tarr, who plays vinyl records exclusively. As she spun her eclectic mix of sixties, seventies and eighties hits, a slide show above her traced the museum’s history. Featured in the slide loop were paintings by artist luminaries, William Wendt, Clarence Hinkle, Joseph Kleitsch, Donna Schuster and others; photos of early plein air artists including Frank Cuprien and Anna Hills; invitations to important art exhibitions from the past several decades, and photos of featured artists whose works have adorned the museum walls since its inception.
One nearby gallery was converted into a pop-up store, selling high-end clothing and other ephemera by local artisans. Another gallery was an ersatz beer garden, with LED lighted wall, fake grass, picnic table and free beer from the Laguna Beach Beer Company.
A third gallery showed videos on two walls, previewing the museum’s upcoming Shoreline Project, by artist Elizabeth Turk. Her project, to be featured during the museum’s annual Art & Nature installations this coming November, will be exhibited at Laguna’s Main Beach. It will be composed of an expected 500 volunteers who will hold, walk with and sometimes dance with LED lit umbrellas. The umbrellas, one of which Turk herself displayed at the Bash, illuminate and replicate her X-rays/artworks of symmetrically shaped shells, which she created at the Smithsonian Institution.
As the evening went on, DJ Nina Tarr retired from hours of intense record spinning, and was replaced by local musician/songwriter Matt Costa; he pulled together a band for the evening, playing a variety of original soul-stirring rock fusion pieces. Besotted by the seemingly endless stimuli, a few people began dancing and soon the museum’s large, central Steele gallery was filled with enthusiastic party-goers, gyrating to Costa’s mesmerizing music.
When the evening came to a close, guests were eagerly awaiting the museum’s many more Centennial events to be held from February through the end of this year. (See website for more information.)
Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, CA